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Hemis Festival with Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

Hemis is the biggest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh, and it was named after the well-known Hemis Tse Chu festival. The festival is celebrated in a way that has never been seen before by the Ladakhis who follow in its wake. Dances are going on all around us as we see the lamas dressed in ornate headpieces and brightly coloured brocades. The 5 Days and 4 Nights Hemis Festival Tour Packages' schedule allows you to learn about Ladakh's culture and way of life.

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Itinerary

  • Day-1 Travelling from Delhi to Leh

    Catch a morning flight from Delhi to Leh and proceed to your hotel in Leh.

    Leh was the capital of the Ladakh Himalayan kingdom in the past, but it lies in the Jammu and Kashmir state. The town is still ruled by the former Leh Palace, constructed during the same period and in the same style as the Potala Palace. The palace was once the residence of the Ladakh royal family. The majority of the 28,000 inhabitants of the city are Buddhists, making Leh the cultural centre of Buddhism in the region.

    Enjoy dinner and spend the night at the hotel. The next day we will continue with our Hemis festival Buddhist tour.

  • Day-2 Hemis Festival Celebration & Sightseeing

    Today is the main event of our Hemis Festivals tour in Ladakh. Following your morning meal, relish in the festivities of the Hemis Festival, which honors the inception of Guru Padmasambhava, believed to have introduced Vajrayana Buddhism to Bhutan and Tibet. Esteemed across the Himalayan regions and regarded as the second Buddha, Padmasambhava was summoned from India during the 8th century to defeat the evil forces and convert them into guardians and protectors of pure dharma. In doing so, the guru established Vajrayana Buddhism - an epiphany of the whole and ideal route to enlightenment.

    Proceed towards the Hemis Monastery, Ladakh's most extensive and prosperous monastery. The festivities for Guru Padamasambhava's birthday commence at 9 AM in the courtyard, where the locals and Buddhist pilgrims gather. A platform is erected, adorned with plush cushions and a delicately painted Tibetan Table, and ceremonial objects such as cups filled with holy water, uncooked rice, tormas made of dough and butter, and incense sticks are placed on them. Several musicians play traditional music with four sets of cymbals, big-pan drums, tiny trumpets, and large wind instruments. Next to them, a small area is designated for the lamas to sit.

    Its major draw is the assembly of the lamas to perform the mystical mask dances (Chams) and holy performances around the festival's central flagpole. Chams are an integral part of the Tantric Tradition, followed by the gompas, where the monks perform tantric worship. The masked dancers wear colourful and bright brocades, with paper-mache masks that are richly decorated and adorned (some masks are over 1 meter tall). They enact a battle between good spirits and evil demons, accompanied by the sounds of drums, cymbals, and long horns. The audience joins in with enthusiastic singing and dancing when the evil dough idol is destroyed by the leader of black hat dancers, signifying the triumph of good over evil.

    During the afternoon, take pleasure in a conducted tour of the city, dominated by the Royal Palace on its skyline and enjoy the Hemis festival sightseeing. This grand stone palace, built in the 17th century, stands tall with its nine stories and is one of the most captivating architectural ruins in the area. The palace was constructed in the foothills of the barren landscape, serving as a residence for the King and symbolising the unification of Upper and Lower Ladakh.

    On top of Namgyal Tsemo (Victory Peak) stands the remains of Leh's earliest royal dwelling, a fortress-like structure built by King Tashi Namgyal in the 16th century, towering over the Royal Palace.

    Additionally, a visit to Sankar Gompa will be included to observe the depiction of Avalokitesvara, embellished with turquoise and portrayed with a myriad of heads, limbs, and feet, as well as one hundred thousand eyes. We will proceed to Shanti Stupa, constructed to honour 2500 years of Buddhism and inaugurated by the esteemed Dalai Lama in 1985. Finally, we will visit Stok Palace, which houses a museum exhibiting the precious heirlooms and artefacts of the Sengge Namgyal family.

    Later, we will return to the hotel, where we will have dinner and spend the night. Hence concluding the second day of the Hemis festival Buddhist tour.

  • Day- 3 Exploring Leh Bazaar, then to Jokhang & sightseeing

    Following your morning meal, you have leisure time to explore the surrounding area independently. Perhaps you might consider revisiting the Hemis Grompa, where the festival continues on a smaller scale featuring various musical performances, songs, dances, and dramas. Local transportation can be arranged for your convenience.

    If you choose to remain in the town for the day, head over to the Leh Bazaar, where you can discover Jokhang - a Buddhist Temple that was constructed by the Ladakh Buddhist Association in the 1980s, and an impressive mosque from the 17th century that showcases a blend of Islamic and Tibetan Architecture. This mosque can accommodate more than 500 worshippers who sit facing each other. Explore the Buddhist sites and the scenic beauty around them. 

    Afterwards, return to your hotel and savour a delightful dinner before going to bed.

  • Day-4 Monasteries & Palaces, then to Shey & Thiksey Monastery

    On the fourth day of the Hemis festival Buddhist tour, after breakfast, enjoy a guided exploration of the Shey and Thiksey Monasteries and the Stok Palace. The Shey Monastery, situated on a mountaintop outside of Leh and was formerly the royal family's summer residence, is said to have been where the Kings of Leh were born. The Shey Monastery, situated on a mountaintop outside of Leh and was formerly the royal family's summer residence, is said to have been where the Kings of Leh were born. The monastery also houses an impressive two-story high-seated image of Buddha made of copper and covered with gold leaf.

    Thiksey Monastery is also perched on a hilltop and offers magnificent views of the lush Indus Valley from its rooftop. This monastery boasts numerous vibrant murals in its courtyard and chambers filled with statues and stupas. In many ways, this grand structure is a duplicate of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. The Stok Palace is now a museum where heirlooms and relics of the Sengge Namgyal family can be viewed.

    Highlights : Return to the hotel for a meal and stay for the night.

  • Day-5 Leh to Delhi, then Departure

    In the wee hours of the morning (according to the flight schedule), we will make our way to Delhi airport for our flight (arranged separately and not included in the tour cost), with an estimated arrival time of 0:00 AM. Afterwards, you will be escorted to the airport for your next flight.

    Here our Hemis festival Buddhist tour comes to an end.

What’s Included

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Private air conditioned vehicle for airport assistance and staff assistance

04 night stay in handpicked hotels

05 Breakfasts, 04 Lunch, 04 Dinners

All ground transport services for sightseeing trips by air conditioned car

Expert local tour guides for sightseeing tours in each city

Govt of India taxes and Company service charges

International or domestic flights are not included

Please carry a valid travel Insurance

India tourist visa can be easily obtained in your country. Visa fee and charges are payable directly by the travelers to Indian Embassy or High Commission at the time of Visa application.

Monument and museum entry tickets are not covered in the package cost

Meals not specified in the package are not included

Any kind of personal expenses/bills, tips to guide, driver, waiters etc

Trip Reviews

SM

Samantha Mitchell | UK

11 Jan 2023

Our trip with Max Holidays was beyond incredible. They organized this Buddhist tour that completely blew us away. From exploring ancient temples to meditating in serene monasteries, every moment felt deeply spiritual. Their guides were so knowledgeable, offering insights that truly enriched our understanding of Buddhism. Plus, they took care of every little detail, making sure we could fully immerse ourselves in the experience. It was more than just a vacation; it was a soul-enriching journey that left us feeling profoundly inspired.

  • 4.5

CH

Christopher Harris | USA

13 May 2022

Our adventure with Max Holidays was absolutely amazing. The Buddhist tour they arranged was a highlight. We got to witness breathtaking temples and engage in peaceful meditation sessions. Their guides were incredibly informative, adding depth to our spiritual journey.

  • 4.5

BT

Benjamin Turner | USA

10 Apr 2024

Our trip with Max Holidays was nothing short of extraordinary. The Buddhist tour they organized was a transformative experience. From visiting sacred sites to learning about Buddhist philosophy, every moment was deeply meaningful. Their guides were passionate and knowledgeable, making the journey truly memorable.

  • 4.5

SE

Sophie Evans | UK

16 Mar 2017

Embarking on a journey with Max Holidays was a dream come true. The Buddhist tour they crafted was profound. We had the opportunity to delve into centuries-old traditions, immersing ourselves in the serene ambiance of monastic life. Their dedication to providing an authentic experience was evident in every aspect of the tour.

  • 4.5

RH

Rebecca Hughes | USA

03 Apr 2024

Our experience with Max Holidays was incredible. The Buddhist tour they arranged was enlightening and spiritually fulfilling. From exploring ancient temples to engaging in meditation sessions, it was a journey of self-discovery. Their guides were supportive and insightful, fostering a deep connection to the teachings of Buddhism.

  • 4.5

Trip Highlights

Hemis Festival with Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour

Travel Style

Signature

Duration

05 Day

From
US $580
per person on twin sharing
5 reviews
Start Point

Delhi

End Point

Delhi

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